Tag Archives: weight lifting

How To Include Your Workout Schedule Into Your Busy Life

Balance-Fitness-And-Your-Busy-Life

When you have a really busy life, it is more important than ever to stay fit and healthy so you can perform all your tasks with energy and efficiency. But often a busy life means having very little time for workouts. Or perhaps you have family responsibilities, and children you want to spend more time with.

It is possible to be productive at work, spend quality time with your family and keep a gym schedule. Workouts for busy people can be possible by modifying the way you exercise and manage your time.

Take these steps towards optimizing your workout time to the maximum:

First, save time at the gym

  1. Intensify your workout by increasing the number of repetitions for each set, then decreasing the rest period between sets.
  2. Add compound movements (exercises that use various muscle groups) and, if you can, lift more weight.
  3. Use full-body, strength-training circuits where you can train both your upper and lower body in the same workout. Circuits can be six or more resistance exercises with very little rest in between. These can be done with short repetitions or long stances on the power rack.

All these measures will not only cut down your time at the gym by half, but also help you burn calories faster and better — even after you leave the gym. Your resting metabolism will step up for almost two days after a short and very intense workout with compound exercises.

Second, make lifestyle changes

Now that you have a more efficient, optimized workout schedule, it will be a good idea to review your lifestyle habits. Are you keeping a healthy diet? Are you getting enough sleeps? Do you keep good posture at work?

Normally, it takes 21 days to work a new habit into your life. Keeping this in mind, introduce each novelty one at a time for a span of three weeks. This will keep the pressure away, and you will modify your life little by little with minimum effort.

For example, you can start cooking healthy meals at night so you will have good, ready meal options the next day. Then, the next three weeks, start going to bed one hour earlier than usual. And so on.

When you have efficiently worked all these changes into your life, you begin to aim for bigger goals. A fast and efficient workout is only part of the ticket towards a full and healthy life. It needs the support of good, lasting habits.

High Intensity Training – CrossFit vs Powerlifting

Crossfit

If you think you’ve exhausted all the exercises out there and believe it’s time to graduate to something intense, you should definitely consider “CrossFit and Powerlifting”. After doing the same exercise workouts, routines and techniques, one can become quite bored and this can lead to complacency. CrossFit and Powerlifting exercises can get you back to the active and excited state that you once were in when you just started your exercise regime.

CrossFit vs. Powerlifting

CrossFit is a fitness program that combines a variety of endurance exercises, specifically targeting physical overall fitness. However CrossFit is more a training philosophy with scientific formulas that determine which types of exercises or movements meet the CrossFit criteria. In other words, not just any exercise with high intensity equals CrossFit. The exercises that you normally find include – but are not limited to – power lifts, squats, pull-ups, burpees and kettlebell swings. CrossFit exercises are usually done by those in the police force and military; and now has found it’s way into mainstream training. 

On the other hand, Powerlifting has been mainly categorized as a sport and incorporates three lifts using maximal weights; a deadlift, bench press and a squat. The winner is dependent on who lifts the greatest pounds for each weight class. Powerlifting is usually based purely on strength and does not incorporate any cardio or endurance exercises.

Advantages

Endurance is a major benefit of doing the CrossFit regime. Some of the other benefits include weight loss and increase in muscle strength. A high amount of calories are burned during the CrossFit program and it is this that mainly contributes to the decrease in body fat. The muscle strength is stimulated through the vigorous and high intensity exercises done, which creates and evens out the muscle distribution.

Powerlifting is great for muscle building, muscle strength and also burning fat. The main muscle groups that are strengthened are in the upper body, legs and back. The upper body muscles are strengthened through the bench press, the legs through the squats and the deadlift works on the muscles in the back. Powerlifting can also be used to improve speed and vertical jump. In 2004 the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” published a study that investigated the direct association between sprint speed and squat strength to powerlifting.

Equipment Required

Most exercises within the CrossFit program can be done without the use of equipment  and use body weight only. However, the equipment you will find in a CrossFit box would typically include, kettlebells, rowing machines, climbing ropes, dumbbells, barbells and bumper weight plates.

The main equipment used for powerlifting are barbells and weight plates. The weight plates, in pounds, are added to the barbells and is increased after each set to test muscle strength. Bodybuilders sometimes wear safety belts to protect their back while lifting weights and gloves to grip the barbells and avoid it from falling.

And the Winner is…

Unfortunately, you can’t name a winner of this competition, as both exercise regimes incorporate various exercises which contribute to the overall well-being of your body. CrossFit is mainly done for overall endurance and strength while Powerlifting is great for muscle strength. All in all, it comes down to your preference but you can add both CrossFit and Powerlifting are in your to-do list. The high intensity of both regimes can be really invigorating.

 

Are Weight Lifting Gloves Necessary and What Size?

Weight lift gloves

You’ve decided to start going to the gym. You need to build some muscles so you’re thinking about weightlifting. But you need to get some gym gear first. What’s on your shopping list?

  • Sneakers
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Duffle bag

 Do you think anything is missing?

It is amazing how often weight lifting gloves get left off this list. Persons believe it is unnecessary. Wearing weight lifting gloves is a personal choice, but when you know that you’ll be lifting weights, it’s imperative that you have it.

Weight lifting gloves are beneficial for a number of reasons.

Weight lifting gloves are beneficial for a number of reasons. The gloves provide support to your wrists, assist in gripping weights, relieve the pressure placed on your hands while lifting weights and prevent the appearance of corns and calluses.

Most weight lifting gloves are made with a band that wraps around your wrists to provide extra support. The support is necessary to prevent injuries to your wrists as the band snugly fits to support the weights being lifted. When exercising, your body produces sweat and your palms sweat too.  The weight lifting gloves are made with a special material that grips the weights and allows you to do your workouts safely. Having constant pressure on your hands can cause you to have blisters of calluses. The weight lifting gloves prevents this from happening, as they act as a support for your palms.

 

Now that you’ve learned the benefits of weight lifting gloves, you’ve added it to your shopping list. However, there are some things you should consider when purchasing them:

  •  You must firstly determine your glove size. It is therefore important to walk with a tape measure.
  1. Measure your hand by wrapping the tape measure around your knuckles of your main hand (the one you use dominantly).
  2. Place your hand on a flat surface, with the tape measure still in place, so that your knuckles are spread.
  3. Finally, tighten the tape measure around your knuckles to get the correct measurement and note the measurement.
  • The gloves should fit comfortably on your hands. In order to increase the grip and prevent sweating, the weight lifting gloves should never be too tight or too slack. There should be a little amount of space – enough to flex your arms – between the gloves and your hands.
  • Weight lifting gloves come in leather and neoprene material. The leather material types are typically more expensive but will give better durability and longevity. Neoprene material is usually worn by persons whose aim is to prevent sweaty palms, and thus get a better grip of the weights.
  • Are the gloves “slip on” or “Velcro strapped”? This is usually done by preference, but if weights are heavier, it is best to purchase weight lifting gloves that have Velcro straps. These provide more support and it is certain that the gloves will stay on while you’re lifting weights.

You can now go to the gym with all your gym gear; knowing that you’ve got your weight lifting gloves for support and grip while building those muscles using a Power Rack.

Happy lifting!

Skinny Guys Can Build Muscles Too

Build Muscles

A guy passes by with ripped muscles and the confidence shines all over him; his smile, his walk and his attitude. Then you look down at yourself and you wonder “What happened?” You’re as thin as a stick; no dimension – even though you’ve been hitting the gym and eating your proteins. Don’t worry. There’s hope for you. Chances are you’re not doing the correct things aimed at building muscles. It’s all hidden under there, somewhere.

 

Below is a list of tips to help you turn that skinny frame into rock hard muscles:

  • The key to building your size and strength is training more regularly. This means that you practice today, tomorrow the day after and so on. Getting the lean physique that you envision won’t come by in a day’s worth of exercise; it takes practice, endurance and discipline. Train several days per week instead of one. Training your body in turn trains your mind which then sends a message to your body that it’s time for a change. It’s a process and you have to follow through with your exercise regime to get the desired results you’ve been aiming for.
  • Many men aim to lift more pounds and therefore increase the weight on the barbells when working out with a Power Rack at the gym. This does help to get them stronger and bigger. But what you don’t realize is that this method cheats you out of building your strength. You’re still able to eat all the junk food and do barbell exercises and get thick but you’re really just adding fat to your body. You’re unable to keep track of your fat levels when you limit yourself to one exercise. It is important to do body-weight exercises, like push-ups and inverted rows, to strengthen your body.
  • Muscle fiber types can be categorized into two groups; fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast twitch muscle fibers are found in fast paced athletes, like sprinters, who quickly generate speed and strength, but get exhausted easily. On the other hand, slow twitch muscle fibers can be found in athletes like cyclists. It takes a while for them to exert energy and it also takes a long time for them to get tired. You can change your fiber type by training either more intensively or slower. However, in this situation where you’re trying to build muscle, it would be advisable to do exercises like the one arm dumbbell snatch, clean and press two to three days a week.
  • Using heavy carriers in your workout is another way of helping you build muscles. These form an essential part of increasing your body strength in a way that no other exercise can. Kettlebells and dumbbells, or any other heavy equipment, can be used while doing the Farmer’s Walk. This technique can be done for approximately 5 minutes after every workout. Some other positions that can be done are the kettlebell rack position and the bottoms up position. These exercises help you build abs, and muscles in your calves and arms.

Although you have personal goals and deadlines to get ripped, you must not overwork your body. There is something such as “over-training” and this can quickly lead you to feeling fatigued and injuring yourself.  It’s important that you pace yourself and think of exercising as practice instead of a sprint race to the finish-line. The muscles won’t come overnight and remember your aim is to create and maintain muscles.

Building a Bigger Back with the Right Workout

Bigger Back

Back workouts can be complicated because of it being such a large body part. It has to be targeted from a number of angles in order to maximize growth and muscle mass. There are specific exercises which can be designed to cater to your workout needs and lead to that ‘bigger’ back. It will emphasize the different areas and look to work them hard. Everyone has a diverse approach ranging from barbells to free weights. This piece will discuss some of these exercises and how they target your back.

Dead Lifts

This should be on top of your list for back exercises.  This is a serious exercise and one that requires a lot of grit and determination. You have to ‘perfect’ the technique before progressing forward with heavy weights.

It is suggested to use an Power Rack  and do the dead lifts every so often and not lift to failure. If you do lift to failure, the chances of being able to do anything else for your back that day is minimal. Deadlifts take a lot out of you and should be targeted in a manner that is safe. This type of powerlifting can be intense.

Pull Ups

This is a simple solution to achieving those desired wider lats. Technique is important here as you want to keep the focus on the back. Many fitness enthusiasts will do pull ups that place more emphasis on the arms. Look to bring your chin above the bar at the top and be fully stretched at the bottom. The elbow should drive in towards the back, leading the shoulder blades to almost touch.

Pulls ups are an excellent tool to begin with at the start of a workout.  Look to throw in a few sets at the start to get the muscles loosened. If you are looking to add mass, toss in some weights and do weighted pull ups with a dip belt.

Back Extensions

To round out a workout, it is important to pinpoint a lower back exercise. Many individuals will forget to emphasize the lower back in the bid to get a V-shape look. Yet, the lower back is critical in maintaining balance and making your shape more aesthetic in nature.

How do you target the lower back? It is good to begin with back extensions using respectable weight. The goal here should be to go for a high number of reps because the exercise is generally less taxing.

Roman dead lifts are another option and one that can be beneficial. As with anything, technique is more important than extra weight.

Choosing a Belt: A Weightlifting Belt Size Guide

Belt Size

Wearing a well-fitted belt during lifting some weights on the power rack can help reduce the risk of injury to the spinal column. Belts help by increasing your intra-abdominal pressure, resulting in a tighter core. The intra-abdominal pressure supports your spine and reduces the risk of compression from vertical lifting, slipped disks, and various other injuries that can occur during a weightlifting session.

Step 1

Choose a material. Belts are constructed out of leather or nylon. Either material has its own benefits. Leather is sturdier, offering a stronger cinch suitable for heavier lifting. Nylon is a bit more flexible and will put less pressure on your hips.

 

Step 2

Put on your usual workout clothes. It’s important to take measurements while wearing what you will normally be wearing under the belt. This will provide accurate measurements and will aid in choosing the most comfortable belt.

 

Step 3

Wrap a tape measure around your waist, going over your navel. Do not “suck in”, or breathe deeply into your belly. Do not squeeze the tape measure too around your waist. Make sure it is secure, not drooping but also not too tight.

 

Step 4

Search for belts that meet your waist measurement and are constructed of the desired material.

 

Step 5

Try it on. Cinch the belt snuggly. Perform a few shadow lifts while wearing the belt to ensure it offers proper structural support. A well-fitted belt should offer support without cutting into your ribs or being uncomfortable.

 

Step 6

Break it in. A new belt will be extremely stiff. Rolling the belt is a good way to loosen up the stiffness and allow it to mold to the shape of your back. You could roll it up and leave it tucked under your bed or somewhere that will apply pressure.

 

 

Foam Roller Exercises for Myofascial Release

Foam Roller

What Is a Foam Roller?

A foam roller is a cylindrical-shaped tube made of firm, dense foam. They come in various sizes, firmness and densities to suit anyone’s sensitivities and body type. It is a tool used for self-massage and as a home gym equipment workout aid to alter routines and make them more challenging. Foam rollers are most helpful when used for myofascial release, which is a loosening of tight muscles throughout the body. Knots in the body caused by stress or injury can be “rolled out” using a foam roller.

 

How to Release Tension in the Glutes

The glutes tend to hold a lot of tension. Here are a few steps to induce myofascial release.

 

Step 1

Stand with the foam horizontally positioned in between your hands.

 

Step 2

Place it on the ground at your feet.

 

Step 3

Carefully sit in the middle of the foam roller.

 

Step 4

Extend your legs and roll your glutes along the foam roller using your heels.

 

Step 5

When you find a tight spot, hold your position for 30 seconds.

 

Step 6

Come off the spot for 15 seconds.

 

Step 7

Find the spot again and hold for another 30 seconds.

 

It’s important to repeat steps 5 through 7 until you’re unable to relocate the tender area. These exercises may include minor pain at first but will greatly reduce those everyday muscular aches and pains.

 

How to Release Tension in the Lower and Upper Back

Other great spots to hit are the lower and upper back. As we all know, the back carries a majority of the tension in the body. Over time, stress causes painful knots.

 

Step 1

Sit on the ground.

 

Step 2

Place the foam roller horizontally behind you.

 

Step 3

Lean back onto the middle of the foam roller, lifting your bottom and bending your knees.

 

Step 4

Use your feet to roll yourself up the foam roller.

 

Step 5

Stop when you reach a tender area and hold for 30 seconds.

 

Step 6

Come off the area for 15 seconds.

 

Step 7

Roll back to the tense area and hold for another 30 seconds.

 

Apart from what was mentioned above, revolve your foam roller 90-degrees and stretch out so that it makes an upright line down your spine. Turn your knees, placing your feet leveled on the ground. Position your arms on the floor next to your body. Allocate your shoulder blades to descend toward the floor to open up the muscles in the front of your torso. Embrace this position, and do not turn over. Conclude with an upper back support stretch.

Again, it is always important to repeat steps 5 through 7 until the tension has been release and the area is no longer tender.

 

 

Building Strength with CrossFit and Powerlifting

CrossFit can be scaled down and is accessible to any age or fitness level.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is an all-encompassing fitness program that utilizes and builds upon the ten basic elements of fitness. It is often used in police academies, military branches, and to condition competitive martial artists and other professional athletes. In a CrossFit gym, training is done in a group setting and at higher scales is a competitive sport within itself. In its non-competitive form, it is still high intensity but CrossFit can be scaled down and is accessible to any age or fitness level.

The Ten Basic Components of Overall Fitness

  • Balance
  • Agility
  • Accuracy
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Cardio
  • Speed
  • Power
  • Stamina
  • Strength

How CrossFit Utilizes These Elements

CrossFit takes the most beneficial training aspects of various sports and incorporates them into a well-balanced workout. The daily workouts are never the same and are rigorously structured to build up each of the ten elements.

Some CrossFit exercises include:

  • Kettle Bell Training
  • Gymnastics
  • Rowing
  • Barbell Training
  • Body Weight Resistance
  • Powerlifting

Powerlifting in CrossFit

Powerlifting is a form of competitive weightlifting. The athlete lifts as much weight as they can handle in three separate lifts. They start with a bench press, then a deadlift, and finally a squat. Since there are little to no cardiovascular benefits from weightlifting, CrossFit concentrates on powerlifting exercises as a way to increase the fitness elements of strength and power. In non-competitive CrossFit training, powerlifting exercises tend to completed twice a week. Starting light and gradually increasing in weight and intensity.

Interested in CrossFit or Powerlifting?

Always talk to your doctor about starting a new workout plan. Thoroughly understand what the workout demands of you and be sure that your overall health can meet those demands. Explain the workout routine to your doctor to ensure that is in alignment with any health conditions that may be present.

 

Powerlifting Belts: Help or Hinder?

Powerlifting Belt

Powerlifting is a competitive type of weightlifting. Athletes are judged by lifting as much weight as possible in a number of different lifts such as; bench press, dead lift, and squat. Because the goal is to lift as much as you can , there is a lot of pressure on the lower back and spine with high potential for injury.

How Power lifting Belts Can Help

Wearing a powerlifting belt helps reduce the risk of injury while training or competing. Essentially, it helps tighten your core causing an increase your intra abdominal pressure. This supports your spine and in turn, reduces the risk of compression, slipped disks, and other injuries associated with lifting large amounts of weight. Users also notice a strength increase during deadlifts and squats when using the belt. The increase can range anywhere from ten to twenty pounds.

How Power lifting Belts Can Hinder

It’s important to only use the belt when exerting maximal effort. For example, maximal effort would be 350+ pounds for someone who currently squats 400 pounds. Continuous use of the belt when it is not completely necessary can cause your core to become dependent on it. This will work against you and actually promote the possibility of injury when not using the belt. Be mindful and make sure to use a belt as a tool and not let it become a crutch.

Who Should Not Use a Belt

Beginners should not use a belt until proper form has been established. It’s important to first master techniques before utilizing a belt during a lift. If your technique is undeveloped, a belt will not reduce the risk of injury because your improper form is what will inevitably cause injury.

 

 

 

3 Tips To Create An Excellent Exercise Plan

5

How effective is your exercise plan? If you’re not getting the results you want, perhaps it’s time to review your body weight exercises, and consider what works for you and what doesn’t. You might also want to consider integrating some of these workout tips that have been tried and tested.

Tip #1: Train regularly.

Try not to stray away from certain established frequencies. For one, train only 3 to 4 days a week as a bare minimum. Any less will not get you to your goal. This is one of the basic workout tips where most people miserably fail; consistency is key.

Tip #2: Stick to a work set.

Here’s one of the most effective muscle building techniques of all time: only do as many as 16 to 20 total work sets in a session. Your training plan must focus on improving each week by adding more reps or weights compared to the previous week. However, going beyond 20 total work sets can endanger your body’s progress. If, for instance, you work out endlessly for two hours every session, your body will have an increasingly difficult time recovering.

Tip #3: Regulate your barbell lifts weekly.

When it comes to muscle building techniques only do 2 to 4 lifts of a big barbell every week. Focus on increasing the strength and the size of the barbell progressively as you do your weight lifting over time.

Tip #4: Finetune your training program.

An effective exercise plan is split into half: the upper body and the lower body, instead of breaking down your workout into certain areas day after day; the latter type of exercise plan is recommended only for professional bodybuilders. By focusing on either the upper body or the lower body, you can concentrate on muscle groups twice every week or rotate the group of exercises (from upper body on one day, to lower body the next day, and the upper body on the third day).

Weight lifting and bodyweight exercises should be included in your program as well, as long as they’re not too easy that they don’t build muscle mass. As always, you should remember one of the most basic workout tips: increase the reps or the weights as you go along applies.

Tip #5: Avoid injury

This is what overenthusiastic people forget: to take active measures to avoid weight lifting accidents and to maximize their muscle building techniques. Your exercise plan must contain rest periods, recovery methods, and warm up exercises. Don’t put body weight exercises that are too intense and that your body can’t handle just yet. Body weight exercises can only be effective if you remember to rest and take good care of your body.